This year I went to the parade and watched. This is probably the first time I've seen the parade from that perspective since 1991.
From 1992 until last year, I marched in the parade. For a wide variety of reasons (not the least of which is purely physical -- tendinitis in my shoulder, plus sore ankles from a rather athletic acting class I'm currently taking), I decided to sit this one out and just watch as a spectator instead.
It's a different experience just to go to the parade and watch. No getting up early, no dressing up, no checking off a "do I have everything?" list, no praying that MUNI is not so overcrowded as to be nearly useless, no schedules to keep, no pressures of any kind.
And when you march in the parade, you're pretty much just aware of the two or three entries in front of you and the two or three behind you. It becomes easy to forget that there are more than six or eight parade contingents.
The parade looks and feels very different from the outside than it does from inside.
So, yeah, if you're a habitual parade marcher, I heartily recommend taking a year off to see the whole event and get a better idea of the bigger picture.
In an odd way, seeing this parade makes me feel perhaps a little less jaded about the whole Gay Pride thing.
(P.S.: Some of these are also on the Chronicle's Pride 2008 Gallery as well.)
(P.S. again: The first photo is of Dustin Lance Black (screenwriter of "Milk") and Gus Van Sant (director of "Milk"), and that's Cleve Jones with his back to the camera. The car directly behind them carried three of the producers of "Milk," but no one seemed to be taking pictures of them.....)
(P.S. one last time: Click on the photos to view larger, more detailed views.)